Posted: 6/4/20 at 10:00am.
The Virginia Baptist Executive Board, President, and Officers of the Baptist General Association of Virginia (BGAV) have decided to make the 2020 annual meeting of the BGAV a virtual meeting, deferring all matters of business to next year’s annual meeting, which will take place November 16-17, 2021.
There were numerous reasons for this decision and its timing. Making an immediate decision allowed for conversations to take place with the Hampton Roads Convention Center and for consideration of available potential dates for our 2021 meeting to be rescheduled there.
Some of the concerns were as follows:
- It is unclear if a thousand-person gathering will be permissible in November
- Whether social distancing is possible/feasible for the breakout sessions, exhibition area, main meeting area, hallway traffic, restrooms, etc.
- Many people who attend the annual meeting are among the most vulnerable to the Coronavirus, and the BGAV wants to make a responsible decision on their behalf
- Many churches may not have the resources to send messengers to the annual gathering, reducing the participation of churches in the decision-making process of the BGAV
The Parliamentarian, Beth Fogg, was consulted for an interpretation of the BGAV Constitution/Bylaws. We decided that the Executive Board was the best body to make this decision, given that it is the BGAV in recess, and it includes all the officers of the BGAV. Since there are no provisions in the Constitution for electronic voting at this time, all business items must be deferred until the next annual meeting, on November 16-17, 2021. The Constitution states that all officers will remain in office until their replacements have been elected. Also, the Executive Board members and all committees will remain in place. The BGAV will declare this a bonus year to keep rotations on schedule.
The Executive Board makes this announcement to enable the Program Committee of the BGAV to shift their planning to prepare for a virtual gathering of celebration and worship. Already amazing plans are shaping up for the meeting, and those will be announced soon. As each church has adjusted to this COVID-19 world in which we now live, so the BGAV will adjust with enthusiasm and creativity. The Program Committee is seeking ways to make this meeting available to all churches, including those where internet access is challenging.